Monday, October 22, 2007

Proposed Opinion OKs Outsourcing Work to Foreign Lands

Continuing the disturbing trend of outsourcing work to foreign countries, the Florida Bar Association is in the process of issuing an offcial opinion giving the thumbs-up to outsourcing legal work outside the U.S.

Most disturbing is that the sanctioned outsourced services are paralegal services. There is no mention of how outsourcing paralegal services can harm the client; just how, if the services are outsourced, they should be limited to paralegal services.

5 comments:

  1. Dear Christine,

    I read your blog post with interest. The Florida State Bar will only be following earlier such opinions by both the New York and San Diego Bar associations.

    Outsourcing of both support services and higher value legal work to destinations such as India is firmly on the agenda at the vast majority of the world's major law firms.

    U.S. and U.K. paralegals and associates rather than fearing these developments should embrace the changes. The face of the legal profession changes over time, and this is simply another change that is inevitable.

    It is crucial that reputable and accredited organizations offering outsourced legal support work with U.S. and U.K. law firms to help ensure that the highest quality of client service is maintained.

    Please do have a look at my blog http://blog.law-scribe.com/ if you have a spare moment. In one of my earlier posts I have actually reviewed the San Diego and NYC Bar opinions on Legal Outsourcing. If you have any queries please let me know and I'd be more than happy to spend some time explaining a little more about the industry to you.

    Best wishes and good luck.

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  2. Mark,
    Thank you for reading, and thank you for your comment.

    While outsourcing is inevitable, I refuse to believe that it will provide the best quality of services to the client. There are so many nuances in the English language that I do not understand how a non-native speaker can pick up on those nuances. Nor do I understand how an outsourcing company can avoid conflicts of interest consistently as it takes in work from other firms. Finally, with all the qualified paralegals and attorneys in the United States, outsourcing is something that I firmly cannot support, as we do need our jobs!

    We had this debate at the 2007 NFPA convention as we decided whether or not to allow international paralegal organizations to join NFPA as non-voting members. We do not want to lose our jobs to outsourcing, yet if it is inevitable, we do want to be able to be the paralegal kept on the team to coordinate with the outsourced team.

    I reviewed a book in August written for IT professionals, My Job Went to India. I recommended it to my readers because yes, it is inevitable, but no, we don't have to just lay down and watch our jobs be shipped overseas.

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  3. I'm a paralegal and I rely on staff in India to do much of the docketing and for preparation of documents that are less urgent. It helps me out a lot. This way, I have more time to spend on urgent matters for the client.

    I don't think paralegal jobs can be taken away completely to India, because ultimately the client wants to talk to someone who is in the United States and to someone who is available during regular business hours in the US.

    I agree that there are many aspects of the English language that are confusing to a non-native speaker, such as someone in India. However anything that India prepares (which is always low priority tasks), they will send to me for review and I will make any necessary changes before sending on to the client or attorney.

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  4. Dear Christine,

    Thanks for the blog that prudently evaluates Bar opinion and raises concerns. I viably understand your concerns and appreciate your efforts to put them forth on behalf of community at large.

    But, there exist no such concern or issue of losing jobs, infact, it provides you with more oppurtunities to benefit from the available resources, as efficiently done by Kim and others.

    Especially, a smart paralegal can attain new scales by effective utilization of resources from both ends. I look forward further correspondence.

    Thank you,
    avish.sharma@yahoo.co.in

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  5. Right Avin....
    I must say that my Indian support team is doing awesome job, but yes, I need to have a constant supervision, no big deal in comparision to the benefits.

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